Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm On A Purge Quest

I'm done with collecting, and I've moved on to purging. Recently I came across an article on de-cluttering written by Leo Babauta, and he summed up the art of de-cluttering very nicely:
1. Identify what is most important to you
2. Eliminate everything else

Sounds simple, right?
Well, Leo Babauta also says you must be merciless.
And that's been very hard for me because I have a very strong, very strange, and very irrational attachment to some of my things, and while that may be understandable with family treasures, much of what I have accumulated over the years is far from family treasure, most are just 'trash treasures' (items I've picked from the garbage)! But for me, there was instantaneous bonding with these trash treasures, and at once they became 'dear-to-my-heart' items. So I had to summon up a little of my sister Diane (when cleaning out the house my parents were living in and getting them ready for a big move years ago, Diane would pick up an item and in a split second she would decide if it stayed or if it went. And I remember clearly her words as she tossed things, "This has served it's purpose"), so now my motto is 'this has served it's purpose and it's time for it to move on'.

I've heard it's hard to stop collecting. I read that a collector takes no pleasure in just looking at things, the pleasure comes from acquiring things. I'm hoping that's not true, because as much as I don't want to give up looking or 'window shopping', I certainly don't want things cluttering up my house again! I'm hoping I go from an 'acquirer' to an 'admirer', and I'm hoping I have the will to pass things by without having the need to make them my own, or the need to rescue them and give them new life.
I know I'm always going to love 'things', but I also know that I can't have it all, and really, I think I'm at a point in my life where I don't want it all anymore.
Also, I recently read that we should use good stewardship in the space that God Has Provided for us, and I have not been using good stewardship at all in the space He Has Provided for me! So I am on a quest to purge, and I am on a quest to maximize efficiency by living with less. And in the process I am becoming so much more thankful.

So far we've gone through the front room, the back room, the kitchen, and some boxes in the basement, and Katie has gone through some of Jayden's toys too. And with only a fraction of the elimination done, already it feels good. I know it will takes months and months before I get through almost thirty years of accumulation, but I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

Although I want to de-clutter my surroundings and live a more simple lifestyle, I have no desire to live a spartan lifestyle. So I will be hanging onto a few treasures, but I'm hoping I will pare down to a very few treasures, and I'm hoping very soon that my massive accumulations and I will see a parting of the ways.

On a side note, I've seen a very interesting study in human behavior through de-cluttering. For a few weeks we had "FREE" signs out, I was just hoping that people would stop by, love my things and want to adopt them, take them for nothing, no cash exchange, everything free. But very few people took anything.
Then Ray decided to have a yard sale, and sell everything cheap, he and the girls set up the tables, he put a few 'YARD SALE' signs up around the neighborhood, and things sold like hotcakes!
What's up with that? I guess people like to feel that they got a bargain , but I guess they feel that "free" isn't a bargain? I don't get it.

Also, some happy news to report ~ our oldest son Brian and his girlfriend Flora got engaged! No date set yet, but I'll keep you posted!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Bonnets, Scavenger Hunt, Sickness, And A Birthday Celebration

I had a great week. It was a busy week, but it was wonderful, and it was a week filled with family, friends, and many Blessings. And I am so grateful!

And Easter brought even more delights! After Mass I got busy with dinner, and then there was lots of eating and visiting with family, and we also celebrated Mia's 4th Birthday with everyone here. (Unfortunately neither Ray nor I thought to take any family pictures, but we always remember to take pictures of the grandkids!):

We actually didn't get a chance to see Sophie on Easter, too many family members have been sick lately (my sister-in-law Susie missed out on celebrating Easter, she was home sick yesterday), and the medical professionals today make new parents "germ crazy" by telling them if a newborn runs a fever they MUST do a spinal tap on her. So, of course, no one wants to take the chance that Sophie might get sick. (Poor Mia was even banned from her own home when she got the virus and had to stay with her Grandmum for a few days).
So Lori and Sophie weren't able to join us, but they sent us some pictures of them enjoying their Easter morning and of the girls in their Easter bonnets:

And lucky for us, Erik & Mia were able to visit with us later in the day so the family could have a big Birthday celebration for Mia.

Before we got ready for Mass, Jayden had a little scavenger hunt and it was lots of fun for us to watch him:

Jayden was used to an Easter Egg hunt that only involved him searching the house for plastic eggs with a treasure of M & M's inside. So this was a little different for him...

...and it took some getting used to on his part. But once he got the idea, he really enjoyed it!

My daughter Katie reminded me that I used to make up clues for them to have a little scavenger hunt along with the egg hunt, so I decided to try it this year with Jayden.

He said, "That was hard work, but it was worth it! And it was fun!"

Later in the day when Mia walked into our living room and saw all the Birthday gifts everyone brought for her, her eyes went wide and she said, "Wow!"

Mia got lots of dolls, and lots of dresses, tea sets, dishes, figurines, and so much more, and she was thrilled with each and every one!

She's a sweet girl, taking care with each gift, and opening each gift so daintily, and very appreciative of each one too.

(I love these yellow shoes!)

Then it was time for Birthday cake!

I sometimes think the family is like the paparazzi! We are constantly snapping pictures of these children! (And they are such good sports, posing with frozen smiles!)

In addition to the birthday cake, the family indulged us by bringing so many delicious treats! Ann, Erin, and Diane brought some Easter cupcakes along with them. Decorated so pretty for Easter!

Steve and Diane also brought this canoli cake. It looked too pretty to eat! But I forced myself and it was delicious!

I also had a taste of the birthday cake and it was yummy too. But there were way too many desserts to sample them all! Everyone came with something, there was cheesecake, and angel food cake, and coffee cake, and carrot cake, in addition to a few desserts I made.
And one of the desserts I made were Wanda's Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cookies, and the Birthday Girl loved them (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are Mia's favorite candy, so this cookie was a big hit)! I sent her home with some, and she told me she's coming to visit this week so she can get more! Thanks for posting the recipe, Wanda, everyone enjoyed them!

'Hope you all enjoyed a Blessed Easter too!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week

I used to think it was so strange to hear about "celebrating" Holy Week. I only thought of Holy Week in terms of sad reflection, until one day a few years ago, while attending a Lenten prayer service, a nun talked about Holy Week in terms of celebrating the grandeur and majesty of God's Great Plan for us, and in terms of celebrating the magnificence and radiance of Jesus' Sacrificial Triumph. And she talked about this week being a great celebration of God's Love for us, and she asked us as we contemplated the Great Sorrow of this week, we not lose sight of the Great Splendor.

Whether you follow Holy Week or not, I hope you all have a very Blessed week. And if you do follow Holy Week, I hope you are able to spend some time in prayer and in reflecting on and celebrating the solemn Scripture readings, and I hope this week leads you to the "Great Splendor" and a Joyous Easter!

I probably won't be posting again until after Easter, so I am going to wish you all a very HAPPY EASTER!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mia!

Four years old! Where does the time go?!

Seems like only yesterday...

Today was not only Mia's Birthday but she also had her dance recital!

We stayed with Sophie while Mommy & Daddy took Mia to her recital:

We were sorry to miss the dancing, but we were happy to join in the Birthday fun!

Mia had birthday cupcakes instead of birthday cake ~ a girl after my own heart!

Erik made them and I thought he did a fabulous job!

It was so nice to spend some time with these two sisters.